Written by Dzaki Al-farid
Is there a figure that many people appreciate, but who turns out to be not a good role model? What is your answer when you are asked the question
“Who invented the lamp first?”
Thomas Alfa Edison, a renowned scientist, with his great discoveries. A bulb that can run for 40 hours, telegraph communication tools, phonograph, fluoroscopy for X-Ray examinations, and others. Edison, despite his brilliance and genius, has a dark side to his life.
This is Nikola Tesla, a scientist who is no less genius.
Known as a genius since his childhood, he was even suspected of cheating in high school, simply because he was too smart in Maths compared to his peers. The high school, which at that time had a duration of 4 years, was completed in 3 years. He then took a very strong interest in electricity. His dream of finding a big solution in electricity was barely achieved, because of his mother’s desire to make his son a priest. Tesla also contracted cholera in his hometown, a disease so deadly at his time that he almost died. The mother also promised to let Tesla choose his life path when he returned to health. And this too happened, a choice that would change the world, forever.
In 1875, Tesla was educated at the Austrian polytechnic. Tesla, who was very ambitious, never missed a single lecture, received top marks, until he was awarded a letter of appreciation by the polytechnic dean that he was the smartest student. Even in the second year of his education, he was able to argue with the teaching professor in his place. Unfortunately, in this same year, Tesla’s father died and Tesla became addicted to gambling and billiards, so he was not ready to take the exam, and could not pass.
Tesla was dropped out in 1878 and decided to disappear. Tesla then moved to Budapest in 1881 and worked for the Telegraph company. His genius kept him from being promoted until finally being sent to Edison’s company. His intelligence earned Tesla the job of designing a dynamo so efficient than Edison’s company grew rapidly and experienced a rapid increase in demand for new electrical installations.
However, Edison’s DC (Direct Current) electric design is only able to conduct electricity up to 1 km from the generator, and the power generated is not strong enough so that it can only turn on the lights. Tesla also developed an Alternating Current (AC) system, an alternating current, which can travel thousands of kilometers and has more power than Edison’s creation. Tesla offered the design to Edison, who was rejected because Edison feared the image of his invention being defeated by Tesla.
Edison even challenged Tesla to create a much more efficient DC electric device and Edison was ready to pay USD 50000 (the equivalent of 20 thousand US dollars or 28 billion rupiahs in today’s money). Unexpectedly, this design worked, and Edison refused to pay Tesla, claiming that the 50,000 dollars were just a joke.
Tesla then stopped working at Edison’s company, and then presented his idea to various entrepreneurs on the Wallstreet, doing many demonstrations until finally, someone was willing to fund it. These funds were used by Tesla to build his laboratory and research on AC electricity.
On the other hand, Edison began to have difficulty meeting the demand for his electrical design, because Edison’s DC electricity was only able to flow as far as 1 km. Meanwhile, Tesla’s designs are increasingly recognized by many entrepreneurs. This electricity can be used for various industrial purposes. George Westinghouse, America’s richest man, also bought Tesla’s electric patent, so that it could be distributed to people’s homes.
To deal with the risk due to high voltage, Tesla also created a transformer so that the electricity entering people’s homes is no longer dangerous and can be used by residents.
Edison, who is slowly starting to erode, starts a black campaign against Tesla. Edison invited reporters to a demonstration of Tesla’s AC power, to kill dogs and elephants in a circus with AC power. He hopes that the citizens will be afraid, and will not use Tesla’s creation, as well as the bad image against Tesla to take place.
Edison even created a tool for execution with Tesla’s electric designs. Edison’s electrocuted elephants are shown in cinemas for the public to see. Tesla didn’t standstill. He also made a demonstration of his invention that was no less extreme. With the Tesla Coil, he showed that electric sparks were grabbing his body, and he was still fine.
Edison’s DC electricity was abandoned, and Tesla’s electricity became the new standard. Tesla even created a hydroelectric generator design for his next project. After that, Tesla succeeded in completing various inventions (AC electricity, turbine engines, transformers, wireless aircraft communications, and many more). Until now, the public knows Edison better than Tesla, despite his various attempts at sabotage, cunning, and fraud.
What we enjoy today is the result of someone’s labors, whom we don’t even know. In this case, Tesla did not offend the other party, even for personal gain, there were still many people who knocked each other down, but they did not think that together they could make something useful for many people. Mutual help and help is a basic thing that is taught to everyone from childhood. So those of you who still want to win alone please think that the world belongs together not only for you.
Hopefully, we can all find out whom we adore!